You are paying money to live without rights


Protestors occupy ex-Camelot headquarters

A former headquarters of a property management company that rents empty buildings to tenants who act as guardians to prevent them from being squatted has itself been occupied by protesters.

The upmarket building in Shoreditch, east London, was used by Camelot Europe and has been targeted by activists who say the property guardians are not getting a good deal and do not have full tenancy rights.
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Bewoonster anti-kraakpand: ‘Mijn woning was levensgevaarlijk’

‘Die vrouw in Boxtel die stierf door elektrocutie? Dat had ik kunnen zijn…’

Aan de telefoon hebben we een tipgever die reageert op ons onderzoek naar het gat op de woningmarkt. Zij is één van die huurders die langdurig op de wachtlijst staan voor een sociale huurwoning, of letterlijk tussen wal en schip vallen: te rijk voor een sociale huurwoning, maar niet rijk genoeg voor een vrije sector woning of koophuis. De ‘Net Niet-Generatie’, zoals ze in de sector ook wel worden genoemd.
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City, property firm “negligent” in shower electrocution of Janneke van Gaal

From nltimes, a very sad story:

The municipality of Boxtel, an anti-squat property management firm and a maintenance firm were all found “significantly negligent” in the wrongful death of Janneke van Gaal, who was electrocuted while taking a shower in her home, the Oost-Brabant Court ruled on Friday. Mitigating the poor condition of the building and hiring a qualified electrician to fix existing problems would have prevented the 20-year-old’s death, the court said.
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‘Ik vond Janneke dood onder de douche. Ze was geëlektrocuteerd’

Akash (24) vond zijn huisgenoot Janneke van Gaal (20) dood onder de douche. “Ik hoorde een harde schreeuw. Toen ik naar de badkamer rende, was haar lichaam al koud. ”

Had voorkomen kunnen worden dat Janneke van Gaal door elektrocutie om het leven kwam? Dat is de vraag waar de rechtbank Den Bosch zich vandaag en morgen over buigt.
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150.000 euro boete geëist in zaak elektrocutie Janneke van Gaal (20) in Boxtel

Omroep Brabant:

DEN BOSCH – Het Openbaar Ministerie eist een boete van 60.000 euro van de gemeente Boxtel en verhuurder Camelot voor de dood van studente Janneke van Gaal in 2013. De technische dienst van Camelot moet daarbij nog eens een boete van 30.000 euro betalen als het aan justitie ligt.

Het OM vindt verhuurder Camelot en de gemeente Boxtel allebei verantwoordelijk voor de dood Janneke van Gaal, maar kan voor nalatigheid geen cel- of werkstraf eisen.
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The downside of being a property guardian

From BBC news:

A new sitcom centres on six young people living as property guardians in an abandoned hospital. The UK’s housing crisis has driven people to unusual solutions and some think they’re being exploited, writes Eleanor Ross.

The rocketing cost of rent in some parts of the UK is squeezing tenants so hard that property guardianship, or “legal squatting” as it has been dubbed, is the only way some can afford a roof over their heads.

Guardians pay to take “licence” of a room or space within a vacant building for less money than a private rental agreement – earning the owner of the building cash and keeping genuine squatters away. The practice now forms the backdrop to a Channel 4 sitcom, Crashing.

But low rents and a central location come with a catch.
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More Scots becoming property guardians to save on costs

The pernicious problem of antisquat moves north – invading Scotland. From the Herald:

Increasing numbers of Scots are taking the plunge living in disused commercial premises or empty houses as they seek cheaper rents and the chance to live in unusual buildings such as disused former childrens’ care homes.

Property guardianship – where renters provide security for owners by living in empty buildings in return for low rents – is said to have ballooned north of the Border over the past year.

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The high price of cheap living: how the property guardianship dream soured

From the Guardian:
In disbelief, Charlie Hope reread the email. “It said I had 24 hours to pack my stuff and get out,” he says. He felt confident that evicting anyone at such short notice must be illegal, although his evictors were threatening to call the police for assistance if he didn’t leave.

Hope’s neighbour had already tearfully packed down her bedroom and left after receiving a similar email the day before. She would be trespassing if she stayed on the premises, she was warned, and so, frightened and distressed, she took a taxi to her parents’ house.

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Central London properties, minus the sky-high rents. But what’s the catch?

“Not many people can afford to live in a 10,000 square foot property in the heart of London like Robin – but actually, she can’t afford to either, which is why she became a property guardian.”
So began a recent Sky News report on property guardians, the latest in a series of upbeat features on the practice of recruiting people to live in empty commercial or residential buildings for a fee. There are agencies that exist entirely to find and vet potential occupants; now photo-heavy features regularly appear in papers and magazines, showing guardians living the high life in rural mansions and Kensington apartments. But is everything quite as bright as it looks?

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De Kabath

De Kabath is Dutch anti-squat. On their website, they’ve got a FAQ, which includes the answer – “Sitting outside, no problem”. Apparently pseudo-renters have been asking if they can sit outside of the property they pay good money to not rent. And the answer is YES they may! How kind of de Kabath. Read the rest of this page »